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Far From Bashar

Pascal Sanchez
2020 | 73 min


About the film

Director statement



Pascal Sanchez

Pascal Sanchez

Pascal Sanchez is a passionate photographer who first ventured into documentary when he set off to chronicle western Canada’s francophone minority communities. Upon his return to Quebec, he was selected to compete in the Radio-Canada TV series La Course destination monde, which sent him on a six-month jaunt across the planet, video camera in hand. Combining a frenzied production pace with full artistic freedom, the Course proved an extremely fertile film school for Sanchez, who made some 20 shorts during his stint, ultimately winning the Sodec–Telefilm Canada award. The prize money helped fund his first auteur short, Un arbre avec un chapeau (2000), which screened at Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

His next film was L’île (2002), a portrait of an elderly man exiled from his island home by illness. This was followed by multiple turns as director, screenwriter and producer, working in both documentary and fiction. In 2008, Manifestes en série won the Gémeaux for best director (public affairs/documentary series). In 2010, La Reine malade (The Ailing Queen), Sanchez’s intimate documentary about a Quebec beekeeper alarmed by the dwindling numbers of bees, won the ÉcoCaméra award at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) and the Gémeaux for best documentary (nature/science).

Sanchez donned the hats of writer, director, DOP and producer for his next documentary feature, Les Vaillants (The Undaunted), which opened RIDM 2015. Chronicling a low-income housing project in Montreal’s Saint-Michel district, the film avoids clichés to deliver a heartfelt, humanist tribute to the community’s vitality, solidarity and fighting spirit.

Sanchez resumed this approach for his fourth documentary feature, Far from Bashar (2020), a shattering portrait of a Syrian refugee family who have recently settled in Montreal. Far from Bashar comes on the heels of his short film Dog (2019), which screened in official competition at the Palm Springs ShortFest and the Whistler Film Festival, receiving an honourable mention at the latter. Sanchez is currently writing his first fiction feature.

Nathalie Cloutier
Producer and Executive Producer
Photo : Liam Valdès

Nathalie Cloutier

In 2018, after 15 years at the NFB, Nathalie Cloutier was appointed Executive Producer of the French Program’s Documentary Studio. She has always championed a flexible creative process and supported a diverse group of auteurs, an approach that has yielded a number of bold endeavours. At the NFB, she’s produced several interactive projects, including Here at Home: In Search of the Real Cost of Homelessness, a multi-award-winning website about homelessness, and The Hole Story Interactive, a website that accompanied the feature-length doc of the same name by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie. In addition to her work on interactive productions, Nathalie has produced and co-produced numerous feature-length documentaries that have garnered attention both in Canada and internationally. They include The Amina Profile by Sophie Deraspe (Sundance 2015), Gulîstan, Land of Roses by Zaynê Akyol (Doc Alliance Selection Award, Locarno 2016), Freelancer on the Front Lines by Santiago Bertolino (closing film at RIDM 2016), and A Delicate Balance by Christine Chevarie-Lessard (Women Inmates’ Award, RIDM 2018). She also produced Waseskun, by Steve Patry, a Best Feature Length Documentary nominee at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards. In collaboration with Nadagam Films of Val d’Or, in Quebec’s Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, in 2018 she launched the 5 Shorts Project, for which five local female directors each made a very short documentary for the web. Her most recent productions are Kenbe La: Jusqu’à la Victoire by Will Prosper, Le fond de l’air by Simon Beaulieu and Far from Bashar by Pascal Sanchez.

Nathalie Cloutier first came to work at the NFB as a production coordinator in 2003. After completing the documentary program at the Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS) in Montreal, she returned to the NFB as a producer at the Documentary Studio in 2010. Earlier in her career, she studied arts and literature and collaborated on several theatrical productions. Her experience directing short films for the 1998–1999 season of the Radio-Canada television program Course destination monde inspired her to pursue a career in film.




Adnan al-Mahamid
Basmah Issa
Ali, Saja, Raniah and Basel al-Mahamid

Nathalie Cloutier

Executive Producer
Colette Loumède

Natalie Lamoureux

Original Music
Serge Nakauchi Pelletier

Sound Design
Mélanie Gauthier

Research, Script and Cinematography
Pascal Sanchez

Production Managers
Tobie Fraser
Geneviève Thibert

Additional Sound Recording
Simon Plouffe
Lynne Trépanier
Daniel Fontaine-Bégin

Production Assistants
Will Prosper
Giulia Frati

Technical Consultant – Camera
Steve Hallé

Technical Support – Editing
Pierre Dupont
Isabelle Painchaud
Patrick Trahan

Assistant Editor
Philippe Lefebvre

Assistant Sound Editor and Additional Sound Design
Sandy Pinteus

Kamel Bouzeboudjen
Khaled Suleyman
Joulnar El Husseini

Mélanie Bouchard

Online Editing
Yannick Carrier

Suliman Ataya
Meriem Achour Bouakkaz

Alexis Farand

Foley Recording
Geoffrey Mitchell

Jean Paul Vialard


Yves Gauthier
Hilda Eddé Debbané
Kate Gwyneth Suganob
Ace Rondez
Scarlett Brito
Amal Elsana Alh’jooj
Marisa Samek
Adan Alh’jooj
Nico Trocmé
Nilly Elwakele

Additional Voice
Anna Sanchez

Audio Archives
United Nations

Legal Advisor
Christian Pitchen

Press Relations
Nadine Viau

Marketing Manager
Judith Lessard-Bérubé

Marketing Coordinator
Jolène Lessard

Sia Koukoulas

Studio Coordinator
Pascale Savoie-Brideau

Production Coordinators
Chinda Phommarinh
Isabelle Limoges
Gabrielle Dupont

Technical Coordinators
Mira Mailhot
Daniel Claveau

Line Producer
Mélanie Lasnier

French Program – Documentary Studio

A National Film Board of Canada production

Press Relations

  • Nadine Viau
    NFB Publicist – Montreal
    C.: 514-458-9745

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.